Do Chickens Like Pellets?

It’s tough knowing what to feed your chickens, but do they even like pellets? Choosing what your chickens eat is based on many different things, and it’s tough to narrow down to your chicken’s exact situation. But the big question is will Chickens even like the pellets you feed them?

Pellets are fine for the main food choice for your chickens. Most chickens love pellets and will eat it perfectly fine, pellets are great to use as a base with other types of food added in. Also, pellets are larger than crumbles so chickens waste less waste eating pellets.

The next thing you have to decide is, what other food can you give you chickens that will help keep them healthy? Read on to find out. To see the differences between crumble and pellets see organic feeds post here.

Generally, as long as you do your research, and stick to chicken approved diets, health and wellness for your chickens should not be an issue you have. Other factors will come into play though, and choosing the best food for things like cleanliness, costs, and ingredients can be a lot more difficult. 

To see what foods chickens find the most delicious check out this table here.

What Is The Best Food For Chickens?

Unfortunately, there is no exact right answer when it comes to what the best food is for chickens. So many factors contribute to effectively feeding and growing your chickens healthily that the answer will be different for everyone. You need to include every variable when making the decision on what to feed your chickens.

Are your chickens underweight? This could be due to many different factors, check my in-depth post here to prevent your chickens from being skinny.

Different Chicken Food Variables

  • Living area
  • How they get their food
  • Possible pests issues
  • Waste management
  • Size of chickens
  • Baby chicks or adults
  • Ingredients


Mash chicken feed is a great “whole meal” for chickens. This is a crushed grain that is mix with proteins, vitamins, and supplements to make sure a chicken is getting everything they need nutritionally. Since mash is usually a powdery consistency, this type of feed can be used for any size chicken, as well as baby chicks who are just learning to eat. 


Mash feed can be taken and compressed into small pieces of food, also called pellets. While most chickens prefer mash over pellets due to the ease of eating it, they also like pellets. Since pellets are made of mash, this is also considered a simple way of feeding your chickens while knowing that they are getting everything they need. 

Pellets are the easiest way to feed your chickens while minimizing mess and waste without compromising nutritional value. This is often the go-to feed for chickens. 

Grain Mix

Grain mix can vary in its ingredients and the size of the food, giving you a large variety of what your chickens would eat. Usually, it is whole grains that are ground into smaller pieces in a hammer mill, but some specialty food will mix supplements and vitamins in the make it more suitable for the nutritional value. 


This type of feed is simply whole pellets that are crumbled into smaller sizes. This just makes pellets easier to eat for smaller chickens. 


Micro-pellets are smaller pellets. However, they usually have added vitamins and supplements as well as extra protein. These small pellets can be easier for chickens to eat and ensure a healthier option when compared to other types of food. 

You heard of chickens liking cracked corn, but do they really? Check my post to find out.

Are Some Food Types Better For Baby Chicks VS. Adult Chickens?

When a baby chicken hatches, it can only eat a certain type of food for the first 8 weeks called starter feed. This is a mash or a crumble that has high protein values, as well as medication to keep the chicks from becoming sick. After they turn 8 weeks old, they can begin eating other food.

Now, they are still too small to eat the exact food that adult chickens eat, so there are some types of food that are better for baby chicks than others. To see what foods to feed your chickens at different life stages check the video above.

For baby chicks eating special chick grit is VERY important for their health as without grit to help break up their food they can have struggle eating, learn more in my post.

Baby Chicks

Once a chicken is past the 8-week stage, it will need a special type of food until it becomes the age where it can lay eggs (18 weeks). This type of food is called grower feed and is specially made to help with rapid growth and ease of eating. 

When you are feeding a baby chicken, you want to choose a crumble or a mash mix of food so that the baby chick does not struggle to eat it due to its size or composition. This food will need to be specially made for baby chicks, so they contain the right levels of nutrients to make sure the chicks grow well and stay healthy. 

You also can choose to medicate you chickens until they are of laying age, which will only reduce their chances of becoming sick. This will cause you to not have useable eggs for a few weeks after you discontinue to medication but getting them to the laying age healthy and appropriately sized will do wonders for their egg laying. 

Do you bath your baby chicks? Be very careful with this as do their own grooming and baths could even kill your chic! Learn more here.

Adult Chickens

Adult chickens are much easier to pick food for, however, sometimes there are breeds of smaller chickens that still cannot eat full-sized pellets. You will need to know how big your chickens are in comparison to other chickens so you know whether you need a crumble or a full-sized pellet. For more info about how to feed your chicken check this blog post out.

Often, there is a misconception that mash can be a great option for all sizes and ages, however, adult chickens usually have trouble eating mash because of its small size. They can take longer to eat, and will usually make a larger mess when trying to do so. It is recommended to only use mash in cases when you have baby chicks or very small breeds of chickens. 

Other than that, any type of food you buy for your chickens should work well. The choice simply comes down to what you want in their food, and how much you want to spend feeding them. 

Do you know if chickens need food and water at night? It’s a tricky question as it depends if your chickens want to lay eggs, to understand more take a look at my post.

What Does It Cost To Feed A Chicken?

Older chickens will cost around $17 per 50lbs/23 kg bag and layer pellets will cost between $15 and $30.00 per 50lbs/23 kg bag depending on the brand and if you buy organic/regular. Different types of food will vary in price tags as scratch grains cost around $10.00 per 50 lb/23 kg bag.

Having any type of livestock is not going to be very cheap in general, and chickens are no exception. Different types of feed with come with very different price tags and choosing one at random could set you back with large feed bills. The good news is though, that you can feed your chickens great, nutrient-rich foods that won’t break the bank. 

Cost Of Different Chicken Foods

Type of FoodCost
Micro PelletsThis is the most expensive due to it being a premium product that contains a lot of nutritional value. 
CrumbleCan be rather expensive due to the extra time needed to process for size. 
PelletsThis goes through a pellet machine to create the pieces, which makes it more expensive due to the extra equipment needed. 
MashThis is the cheapest complete food you can get. This requires also no processing, and containg a high level of nutrition. 
Grain MixThis is usually the cheapest because it takes the least amount of work to process, as well as having no nutritional value. 

Feeding chickens can be a simple task once you figure out the best option for you and your breed of chickens. Doing your research and making sure they are getting their nutrients will be the biggest tasks you have to worry about. 

Thankfully, pellets are a great option as most chickens love them and they are full of everything chickens need in their diet.  This makes it easy for you to choose a food and stick with it, which is great because chickens don’t love change. 

Dane McManis

Dane started learning about farming while volunteering on a farm. Now he and his wife raise chickens, pigs, and ducks on their small farm with their two little girls.

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